The Ideal Opportunity

When looking for new employment you might be forgiven for thinking ‘that would be the ideal opportunity for me’. How do you know what the ideal opportunity looks like?

In a recent interview with Blank Podcast, Manchester United legend Gary Neville admitted it was a mistake going into coaching, a logical choice for many ex-players. Gary had a plan when he finished playing football to focus on three areas: broadcasting, business and coaching.


As time would reveal, Gary’s short-lived experience with Roy Hodgson at EURO 2016 and Valencia Football Club were not a great success. Neville was asked to step in at Valencia ‘until the end of the season’. It was not part of his plan but he accepted the offer from his business partner.  Neville’s main regret was not going into coaching but not taking experienced staff with him who spoke English and Spanish. In hindsight a simple mistake but a lesson we can all learn from. It’s not only the individual but the working conditions and team around you that will influence the outcome.


In contrast to Neville’s short foray into coaching, José Gomes the recently appointed Portuguese coach of Reading waited almost 25 years to achieve his ambition of coaching in England. As a young player in the mid-1990’s Gomes would watch Sir Bobby Robson coaching at Porto. Gomes was inspired by Robson’s passion for coaching even at 62 years of age and decided one day he would coach an English team. Gomes, now 48 years old, held 21 positions in seven different countries including Spain, Greece, Hungary, UAE and Saudi Arabia before arriving at Reading. After recent defeat in the FA Cup to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United, Gomes received positive support from Solskjaer who said ‘don’t change your style, follow your ideas, your football is great’. Joining Reading in the relegation zone might not be the ideal opportunity but inspiration from Robson and Solskjaer will hopefully pay-off for Gomes and Reading to avoid relegation from The Championship.


Many people seek employment in football due to their passion for a club and don’t really consider the terms and conditions. More than 6 million people in the UK are paid below a real ‘living wage’ with those who work in sports clubs and facilities disproportionately affected by low pay. Citizens UK revealed on 4th February that 42% of all employees working at sports clubs and facilities are paid below the real Living Wage. This compares with 20% being paid under a real living wage nationally.


It is encouraging to see that Everton Football Club has recently signed up to the Living Wage Foundation to pay a wage that meets the real cost of living. Other Premier League clubs who are also accredited Living Wage employers include West Ham Chelsea and Liverpool. Titles are often meaningless but it is good to see Kim Healey as ‘People Director’ at Everton who states: “We take immense pride in being ‘The People’s Club’. Not only do we put our loyal supporters first, but we also place huge importance on staff welfare. Paying all employees the Living Wage was a step in the right direction.”


Whatever your background or line of work, there is perhaps no ‘ideal opportunity’ in football or sport in general. Everyone finds their own way through exploring different opportunities and gaining experience that you never know will be needed. Take Riteesh Mishra for example, the Head Coach of Charlton Athletic Women whose day job is talent manager at Deloitte, the international accountancy firm. A former star of the Nottingham Forest academy whose career was curtailed by injury worked his way back into the game and now enjoys combining two jobs successfully.


Make your own plans, make your own mistakes but never make the mistake of waiting for the ideal opportunity. It may never happen…..Find your next opportunity on our job board